Nokia is being attacked at both ends. Its Lumia phones are key to taking on the iPhone and high-end Android smartphones, but it’s also losing out on the low-end market it used to dominate from Chinese phone makers Huawei and ZTE.
After spending the past two years focused on its Lumia devices, Nokia could be gearing up to debut a new range of cheaper devices at Mobile World Congress next week, Reuters reports. The company is said to be working on extremely cheap smartphones to take on Chinese manufacturers, as well as new low-cost Lumia models.
Naturally, Nokia isn’t commenting on the news, but it makes sense for it to announce new cheap phones next week. Last year at MWC Nokia announced a new range of Asha feature phones, as well as its cheapest Windows Phone devices at the time, the Lumia 610 (pictured above). Given its European setting, Mobile World Congress is a good platform for Nokia to reveal devices that will appeal more to international consumers.
After several quarters of significant losses, Nokia finally reported a profit in the fourth quarter, mostly due to reducing costs and improved Lumia sales. Nokia sold 4.4 million Lumia Windows Phones during the quarter, and overall it sold 6.6 million smartphones. It sold 9.3 million units of its low-end Asha phones.
We don’t know much else about Nokia’s new low-end devices, but given the consistently lower costs for mobile hardware, I expect them to be far more capable than last year’s models. While many smartphones makers are focused on cramming the fastest processor and biggest screen into their high-end devices, there’s still a significant market out there for low-end and mid-range devices.
And for Nokia, which has lost the mantle as the biggest mobile manufacturer in the world, it can’t afford to let major markets slip away.